Astra Pimentel started her career in public office as a political affairs officer for Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III. She was then appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as liaison in the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office and as undersecretary for the Commission of Filipinos Overseas and the Department of Energy.
Pimentel is seeking the Senate for the first time under the wing of PDP-Laban backed by Duterte, the same faction that expelled her former boss, Senator Pimentel, who is the son of the party’s founder Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. She previously sat as chairperson of PDP-Laban’s membership committee before she was ousted by the faction led by Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao and backed by the younger Pimentel.
In line with her party, Pimentel backs shifting to a federal system of government, for reasons that include allowing presidents and vice presidents to seek a second term. She asserted at a senatorial debate that President Duterte in particular, who she said has performed very well as the country’s top official, should be given another chance to lead.
Pimentel at the same debate held in March said she believes the Senate should also prioritize the welfare of overseas Filipino workers and the tourism industry.
“Si Astra Pimentel ay lumalaban para sa pag-asa at para sa katatagan ng sambayanang Pilipino. ‘Di ba si AstraZeneca ay pag-asa natin laban sa pandemya? Si Astra Pimentel ang bakuna sa Senado.”
ASTRAVEL PIMENTEL NAIK
Full Name: Astravel Pimentel Naik
Birthday: July 20, 1969 (Age 53)
Birthplace: Malaybalay City, Bukidnon
Residence: Pasay City
Languages Spoken: Filipino, English
Spouse: Coco Naik
Children: Four children
Profession/Occupation: Government Official
- BS in Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Services, Xavier University
- Bachelor of Science in Public Administration, Trinity University of Asia
- Special Course of Accounting for Non-Accountants, University of the Philippines
- Undersecretary, Department of Energy, July 2021
- Executive Director and Undersecretary, Commission on Filipinos Overseas, February 2018-July 2021
- National Chairperson of the Committee on Membership, PDP Laban (expelled in July 2021, but re-elected by the Cusi faction in August 2021)
- Assistant Secretary, Presidential Legislative Liaison Office, Date Unknown-February 2018
- Presidential Legislative Liaison Officer, Presidential Legislative Liaison Office, 2016-Date Unknown
- Political Affairs Officer, Office of Senator Aquilino “Koko” L. Pimentel III, Senate of the Philippines
Pimentel was the political affairs officer of former Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel.
Her most recent post was undersecretary for the Department of Energy which she was appointed to in July 2021. A concerned advocate filed a complaint against Pimentel and two others for committing prohibited partisan political activity for officers and employees of civil service.
Another complainant accused Pimentel of using her position as a Malacañang insider to extort P110,000 from him, with Pimentel promising she could find a way for President Duterte to consider his appointment to general manager of the Laguna Lake Development Authority.
Pimentel was the chair of PDP-Laban, when on July 9, 2021, the faction led by Senator Manny Pacquiao expelled energy secretary-and PDP Laban president Alfonso Cusi, PDP-Laban deputy secretary general Melvin Matibag and Pimentel for supposedly violating party rules “by showing allegiance to a political party apart from PDP-Laban.” Cusi was allegedly manipulating PDP-Laban to support the Duterte-Duterte tandem, deemed an admission of supporting Sara Duterte for president, who is not a member of the party.
On July 17, 2021, Cusi led a national assembly of party members where Pacquiao was ousted as party president and new officers were elected, including Cusi as president, Pimentel as chair of the membership committee and Matibag as secretary general. PDP-Laban wrote a letter, signed by PDP-Laban chair Duterte and Cusi, formally submitting its Sworn Information Update Statement to the Comelec.
Such election of new officials was not acknowledged by the faction of Pacquiao and Sen. Koko Pimentel, son of PDP-Laban founder, former Senator Nene Pimentel.